The Philosophical Foundations of Embodied Cognition: The 140 Year Old Groundwork for Our Field
March 3, 2016, 2 p.m. UTC // March 3, 2016, 2 p.m. in UTC
Many non-dualistic approaches to psychology are currently converging around a similar set of basic principles. Each brings it own insights, but it remains unclear if Enactivist, Embodied, Embedded, and Ecological traditions can be brought together with Behaviorist and Realist traditions, so that all can be supported by a shared philosophical foundation. Such a foundation will be presented via a precis for an improved history of behaviorism. Behaviorism did not arise out of traditional mechanistic thinking, but out of the work of Charles Sanders Peirce and William James. Rather than be be distracted by John Watson's charisma and his dismal reductionism, we will look at behaviorism from the point of view of James's protégé Edwin Bissell Holt, who serves as a crucial historic link between that early work and many of the modern approaches in question. This approach makes clear why it is so unsatisfying to see a thin veneer of enactivist or embodiment thinking added to traditional, dualistic approaches to psychology. It also offers the possibility of bringing together a critical mass of researchers, to advance an alternative, unified view of the field.